20 of Our Favorite Outdoor Party Ideas
Gathering family and friends in your backyard for an outdoor party is a surefire way to have a good time. Whether you're a seasoned party planner or are throwing your first summertime soirée, our favorite recipes, DIYs, and decoration ideas will help you take your event to the next level.
Nothing sets the scene for an outdoor party like a few festive decorations. Whether you're hosting a daytime extravaganza or gathering loved ones for a nighttime bash, good lighting is key. Incorporate hanging lights around the food table or place tiki torches along the entrance of your outdoor party to guide guests towards the fun in a thematic way. Hang festive DIY wreaths from trees and place Terra-Cotta Decorative Bowls with your favorite flowers throughout for an extra pop of color.
No party is complete without a delicious menu, so you'll want to curate a great selection of food and drinks. Greet guests with a DIY sangria bar. It's easy and quick, allowing everyone to make their own drink to their liking. Simply place spirit-infused chopped fruit in bowls alongside pitchers of red and white wine and cold seltzer or chilled fruit juice. Another crowd-friendly drink option is to make a big-batch signature cocktail that guests can serve themselves—we recommend a margarita for the warmer months. Our Hibiscus Margarita is refreshing and only takes five minutes to put together.
Next up is the food. You can't have an outdoor party without using your grill, and our Grilled Hamburgers with Goat Cheese are just the ticket. The juicy grilled meat pairs beautifully with the rich goat cheese, and the result is delicious, elevated, and incredibly easy to prepare. Serve your burgers with our fresh Tomato and Beet Salad for a nutritious side. Finish off the soirée with Lemon-Spice Ice Cream Sandwiches—they'll help guests cool off after spending hours outdoors.
Add Hanging Lights
For a nighttime party, glowing string lights add an intimate feel to your space while also serving as a great source of light.
Use a Bar Cart
Just because your soirée is outdoors doesn't mean you can't use your trusty bar cart. Add elements of nature around the mobile bar to make it feel more at home outside.
Make Your Own Tiki Torch Anchors
Add festive lighting to your party space with tiki torches. Anchor them in gravel-filled, galvanized-steel flower buckets ($36.99, wayfair.com), and have yourself a tropical night. To anchor the torches, position flower buckets on level ground for stability. Hold one torch upright in each bucket and fill the bucket with garden gravel to about three inches from the rim. The containers are then heavy enough to support the lit torches safely as they burn.
Add Functional Seating
Collapsible chairs are lightweight and easy to maneuver once the party is over. Choose a collection in a hue that complements your dinnerware for some seamless outdoor party décor.
Make a Citrus Garden Wreath
Create your own wreath from household and garden items. Hang the wreath from a tree to add some color to your outdoor party.
Relax in Wicker
Outdoor furniture doesn't have to be uncomfortable. Bring items from your patio to the grass and have a feast amongst nature. It's an easy party setup that doesn't require much additional décor to wow.
Use Terra-Cotta Decorative Bowls
Intersperse potted plants around the party area. This simple DIY creates gorgeous planters that will work both indoors and outdoors as party décor.
Tea Party Set
Gather guests for a garden party full of delicate décor, like this gorgeous tea party set.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart Collection "English Garden" Tea Set, $59.99, macys.com.
Display Citrus Centerpieces
Nothing says warm weather quite like citrus. Use the colorful fruit as the theme for your outdoor party tablescapes. Here, orange and white flowers spill out from small vases, while real oranges sit pretty beside the display.
Keep Drinks Cool
Drinks will stay frosty all party long with this decorative and functional bucket. Place your favorite beverages inside—from beers to white wine—and guests can grab what they want all evening long.
Shop Now: Bash Silver Beverage Tub, $89.95, crateandbarrel.com.
Create a DIY Sangria Bar
We love a make-your-own sangria bar for outdoor parties. Not only will guests get to enjoy tasty drinks, but the service style also frees you up from bartending work.
If you plan to tend bar, or else mix up a big batch of cocktails before the party starts, plan to quench guests' thirst with a lip-smacking hibiscus margarita. This unique take on the classic summer cocktail is equal parts colorful and delicious.
Pasta Salad with Chickpeas, Green Beans, and Basil
This summer salad is a delicious addition to your outdoor party, and it's a winner with vegetarians and carnivores, alike. Farfalle is paired with fresh green beans, chickpeas, red onion, and salty capers for a savory dish.
As delicious as it is colorful, this recipe takes advantage of the season's freshest produce. Red beets and heirloom tomatoes create a rainbow side.
Grilled Hamburgers with Goat Cheese
Sure, you could grill up a batch of standard hamburgers, but why not serve something a little more special? The goat cheese used in this recipe is a mouthwatering surprise.
Lemon-Spice Ice Cream Sandwiches
Delight guests with sweet and tangy treats like these cakey cookie sandwiches. The citrus-flavored ice is sandwiched between two cookies for a delectable, cooling dessert.
Pound Cake with Peaches and Cream
Store-bought pound can be easily transformed into an impressive dessert that's perfect for any outdoor party. All you have to do is layer slices with fresh whipped cream and ripe summer peaches. Be sure to keep this treat indoors until you're ready to serve so the whipped cream doesn't melt.
Summer Fruit and Nut Platter
Mix sweet and salty for a satisfying finale to your outdoor party. Our summer fruit and nut platter pairs stone fruit, strawberries, and cherry gold tomatoes with fresh ricotta, other light cheeses, and nuts.
Give Spray-Painted Plant Gift Bags
Send guests home with a bit of the outdoors to remember your party by. We're partial to these DIY plant gift bags. Add whatever plants you want and watch as loved ones grow them at home.
Offer Succulent Party Favors
For those family members and friends with less of a green thumb, add succulents to their goodie bags. These require minimal care but still result in beautiful colors and textures.
Shop Now: Queen of Succulents "Burlap Rustic" Party Favor Gifts, $6.99, etsy.com.